Sunday, August 8, 2010

Prone to Wander

Prone to Wander

I lie awake with the sound of the sea calling to me.
The Moody Blues

It’s been a busy summer. I recently read this and chuckled: “You never see more of your children then after they move out? We’ve enjoyed visits from our adult children, extended family and friends here in Pennsylvania. I’ve been sewing, cooking, serving, writing, etc. And we’ve been away. One trip brought us to a family reunion in New Jersey.  Lots of Italian hugs and kisses, Italian food to excess, music played on strings, and for some cousins, thirty years of catching up to do.

Last week we visited with my parents. They live a block from the Atlantic Ocean. Indoors we chatted busily about everything that had been pushing itself to the forefront of our minds. Outdoors, the wind, hot sun, steady stream of cars along the main road, the power walkers and joggers, vied for our attention. An evening walk to the beach at last and the rhythmic ocean waves passed along their influence of calm.

We like the beach best mornings and evenings. It isn’t hot or crowded then. A few kites flew in the softening sky the evening we first arrived. Nigel’s kite soon joined them. He remembered to bring his red dragon. Here you see Dean flying it.
I wore the three-tiered skirt I made recently. Previewing products for CBD I watched the sweet southern ladies sewing on their Homestead Blessings DVD. This got me enthused to make a skirt of my own. When I spotted the retro 70s tie-dye gauze in a pile of remnants it spoke “beach” to me.

At seven o’clock in the morning, I found myself yearning for solitude. A walk on the beach by myself would do it. It brought to mind Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s musings in her book, Gift From the Sea. She writes, “One learns first of all, in beach living, the art of shedding,” I agree. How lovely to be rid things. How freeing. How peaceful. For just one hour no telephone ringing, computer, unwanted music, traffic lights or road repairs, no oven or dryer buzzers, no UPS or Fed Ex deliveries, no socks and shoes, and no heavy purse. An arms-swinging-free walk on an almost empty beach was soothing. The salt sea air, the waves of cool water, the scurrying plovers, did what our “mood music” attempts to do – the music Dean sometimes plays at home to relax - the music with the sound of the sea. It helped to unclutter the soul. 

It is easy for a God-fearing person to pray on an empty beach. The invitation to talk with God is plain. And what can distract us to procrastinate? Surrounded by nature and with the usual distractions removed, God is approachable. The poet Emily Dickenson observed something (probably about busy people and their busy lives). She said, “They say that God is everywhere and yet we always think of Him as a recluse.” 
If you are a mother who is busy, a mother who serves and gives out of love and out of duty, and this is how you’ve been secretly feeling, I sympathize. I wish you a little solitude, my friend to be attentive to your soul. God is not far away. He gives grace to the humble, refreshment to the weary or busy.

It is Sunday afternoon. This morning’s church hymn, “Come, Thou Font of Every Blessing” has a line that impressed itself upon my heart. This is because it reveals my sentiments during that solitary walk. 

“Prone to wander Lord, I feel it –
Prone to leave the God I love:
Here’s my heart
O take and seal it,
Seal it for thy courts above.”
Robert Robinson 1756

Thank you Nigel for the photo you took of Thursday’s sunset over Barnaget Bay.


  1. Hi Karen,
    Thankyou for your blog. I am the person who wrote to you from Australia regarding the 'Parents Review'. I have long admired your writings and am eagerly awaiting your next book.
    As to your post - I too love the beach. God certainly reveals himself there - the wind , the waves, the flora and fauna all shout 'How great thou art'!
    I look forward to your posts with great anticipation.

  2. Karen,
    I just recently started following your blog. I feel peace here. This post about the beach was amazing. I too am a beach lover. As I was reading this post I could hear, smell and see the beach and sat here dreaming of going SOON! I am a Momma of five year old twin boys about to start our home education next month. This post hit home for me because I will certainly need that solitude with my Father daily. Thanks for this gentle reminder.
    BTW-LOVE the skirt!

  3. I agree with Tasha's post--I love the skirt, too!

  4. Beautiful words and beautiful photos. I always find inspiration and encouragement here.
    By the way, I, too, think your skirt is lovely. I have also watched that wonderful West Ladies' video and plan to make my own three tiered skirt soon.

  5. I live so far from the NJ shore...western Pa now...and seeing your lovely shots of the NJ shoreline meant a lot to me.

    The West ladies' 3-tier skirt is so wonderful..esp. the very long length of it....that's what makes is very beautiful...I think it could become a long-lasting garment to always have in our all different types of fabrics, colors, prints, solids, and's so very feminine, isn't it?!
    Lynn M

  6. dear grandfather used to fish at Barnagat Light...Lynn M.

  7. Louisa,
    It is good to hear from you again. Welcome.

    Yes, prayer is a mother's solace.

    Lynn, Kelly, Sue,
    Thank you for your compliments on my skirt. I want to make another with less flamboyant fabric this time.
    Your grandfather fished off the coast of Barnaget Light, NJ, too? What a coincidence. My grandfather loved fishing and had a boat. A ride on the boat (just in the bay) was something I found thrilling as a young girl. He and my grandmother lived on the edge of the sand dunes. It was their summer house. I remember wandering the dunes when the sand was cooler in the evening. Today, as you probably know, no one is permitted to walk on the dunes to preserve them from wear.
    Thank you ladies,
    Karen Andreola

  8. What a coincidence! I just came home from the beach. While I was there I reread my tattered copy of A Gift From The Sea. I never get tired of it. I love the photographs!

  9. Loved these photos of you and the scene and thoughts you shared. Be blessed, just turned on YouTube sea sounds.